Aireal is a growing material library showing materials that capture CO2 in their production process. The materials were developed in the spirit of the circular economy, where waste does not exist and carbon dioxide is seen as a resource for the creation of the products that we will use tomorrow.

Due to the industrialization of our planet, levels of green-house gasses are dangerously rising into the atmosphere. Reducing these emissions is crucial in the challenge we face to prevent the most acute weather changes associated with a global temperature elevation. While we must work to reduce emissions, we will inevitably also need to develop strategies to capture the gases that are already in our atmosphere and that are still being emitted.

Capturing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it underground seems to be an inevitable strategy. But research shows that there are other ways to go about the storage of carbon dioxide.

On a molecular level, nothing is created (and nothing is wasted), everything is transformed from one state to another. Plants and trees for one, constantly take in carbon dioxide, and convert it into oxygen and carbon molecules, the building blocks of life. In our quest to prevent the dramatic effects of global warming, it’s important that we learn from nature.

For the past 10-15 years research is increasingly showing that carbon dioxide, a simple and active molecule can be used to create new materials. Combined with other (waste)materials, it can shape new circular products that we will use for the next quarter of millennia.

Aireal is a physical and online library of possibilities. The materials range from building materials to nutrient-rich proteins and bioplastics. They were developed by international laboratories and institutes. Some are readily available and some still need to find their way into daily life. They encompass new ways to transform human waste into materials and food sources. Together, they define a new radical relationship between ourselves and the materials we use by completely altering the value chain with which we have come to see the world.

Project by © Teresa van Dongen 2021